WINNIPEG—–Your correspondent has just received a letter from a reliable friend who went to Winnipeg a few days since, and the report he gives of wages and the cost of living there makes it anything but profitable to the young men who go there to make a fortune.
He says that the streets and crossings are covered with mud more than a foot deep and that the floors of the bar-rooms of the hotels and leading business places are covered from one to two inches deep with the same material. He says at present, carpenters are getting only $2 per day and that hundreds of men are and have been working for their board. He further adds that $1.75 per day is offered by the C.P.R. for men to work on the road beyond Winnipeg. It must be remembered they have to pay their board out of this, which considering the high price of the same, leaves very small profits to the laborer. Again, he says, board in Winnipeg where he is working ranges from $5 to $12 per week. The mills at present seem to pay the best wages, from $2 to $2.50 per diem.
On the whole he thinks a man earning $20 per month in Ontario is as well off as the man who gets $2.50 a day in Winnipeg. A common suit of tweed clothing which may be had in Orillia for $20, will cost $35, and everything else is in proportion. If the aforesaid facts are correct, and I have little doubt of it, young men could do fully well at home. It is true Winnipeg is a large and rapidly improving city, but when the climate and the water, together with the increased cost of living, is taken into consideration, there is not much to be said in its favor so far as the laboring classes are concerned. It is not to be wondered at that living costs so much in Winnipeg when the commonest kind of poplar wood is $5 per cord and anything like good hardwood finds a ready sale at $15 per cord, while coal is enormously high. Then again, rent is exceedingly high as a very common house will rent for from $40 to $50 per month. On the whole I think a person who is comfortably situated in Ontario has nothing to gain by going to Manitoba or the great Northwest.
On account of the cold weather our farmers are prevented from doing any seeding worth speaking of, and in consequence you may hear some grumbling. Should fine weather set in even now, the seeding will be comparatively speaking, late.